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tv   [untitled]    July 9, 2013 12:30am-1:01am PDT

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stoplight and heavy traffic. it was gideon's mutual trumpet, the new book that talks about the harsh reality of the system where public defenders have to handle thousands of cases in a course of a year. that's a tough reality whether it's 500 or a thousand cases. something that jim had an eye to handle more business litigation could not imagine handling and handling well. that's why this anniversary and events like this are so important. they remind us why court funding and why funding of public defenders is so critical and invite vital. these days there is too
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much worry about funding the judicial system and not enough worry about the cost for equal justice. this is the 50th anniversary of gideon, more articles are written, more gatherings like this and more than any that i can remember. maybe in california armed with a great public defender and with a like minded d.a., maybe we can begin to make the societal changes in a dent in a nation's shameful conference. last fall we did make some progress even at the ballot box which has been very difficult during this generation but prop
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36 passed in the deeply embedded 3 strikes law. i also want to point out to this group even though the focus today is on public defenders in the criminal system, in san francisco we try to go even further than that. last year they were making san francisco the rights to civil council city, the city of gideon. there are civil cases, eviction cases, family law cases where the consequences, the results followed in court are almost as severe to what gideon faced and what people face in criminal cases. what we recognize at the outset of the supervisors proclamation is part inspirational, our leaders in
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the community have rallied around it and the bar association and our firms have taken on more conviction cases. later we'll be holding an event to thank people in these positions and so please stay tuned about that. in the meantime let's focus on gideon and the public defenders role. i would say if there is ever a time and place to turn the tied and to bring the &m music back to gideon's trumpet. we thank you and look forward to a great day. thank you. [ applause ] >> about a year-and-a-half go we saw one of the most dramatic shifts when the state took funding and reallocated to
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local and housing for state prisoners. our next speaker chief probation officers not only in san francisco but statewide. she's here to give us an update on what's happening. >> thank you, public defender inviting probation for being part of this summit. i apologize for my voice. i recently made it back with china, unfortunately my voice has not made it back yet. i'm very proud that our partnership in san francisco that we realize in transforming san
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francisco criminal justice system in one that uses science base, human approaches to help people change their lives which reduces recidivism and breaking the inter generational to return. we hope to transform the criminal justice system on a national basis and what we are learning is san francisco is going to help many other states in its jurisdiction to find other ways to serve justice and at the same time change lives and reduce recidivism. our counties realignment effort which means that if we have individual treatment plans, we look at the individual and create a case plan based upon his or her
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needs and not taking a one side approach as we know about the terrible result of the state prison system. the recidivism rate was 78 percent. i'm really happy to report that we have proven that the sky has not fallen since realignment. we have major results and i will share those stats with you. we have certain sanctions which included incarceration but also rewards for positive behavior and there is leaders in san francisco was in terms of a legal approach was -- ensuring that due process rights were under law these flashing
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incarceration. what it means we provided the court and public defenders and district attorney's and rpgs recommendation was not based on a punishment model but a behavior change model. the county created a stellar partnership in the district attorneys office to create a new plan and expanded also some of the social services that they were able to provide and partnered with the criminal justice team with the court and with probation to take a different approach. we also as part of our approach took over a third of the dollars that the county got and invested the money, talk about return on investment, $4 million into services. if
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people are going to change their lives, they need to have services that will help them change their lives. that is an important priority. other services have been public mental health, health and human services, housing and employment and economic development and we also have went into prisons, probation and started a reentry planning. we are talking about the results which has proved if you change your approach then you can improve the results and in san francisco, three years about before realignment and evidence base probation and sentencing we had over 7,000 individuals on probation, as a result we now currently have 5500 individuals under supervision and that includes all of this population that has
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been realigned in the state. instead of a 78 percent failure rate which is what parole has, probation has a 77 percent success rate, again changing the focus. the number of felony probationers who were revoked and sent to state prison, 3 years ago was 75 percent in 2009, and in 2012 we sent 65 individuals. of the 1310 felony probationers, 77 percent completed successfully and of the newly aligned positions, those are the ones that basically had had 78 percent
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failure rate. 65 percent have been in total compliance. no new law violations and 55 percent have had no arrest or sanctions or flashing incarceration. and they are reporting to probation for services. we have a wide array of community services for individuals that need assistance. but i think really what san francisco has done was continue to be a leader with the outstanding public defender and district attorneys office and the public probation and we can achieve justice and success and at the same time change lives. so i'm very thankful to be part of the criminal justice partnership in san francisco. it's an honor and we are not only leading the way in california but we are leading the way in the nation to change
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it's approach to serving justice. so thank you for an allowing me to speak. [ applause ] >> next it's a great honor to present supervisor cohen to present a proclamation to us. >> supervisor cohen represents the district 10. which includes bay view hunters point and hill. >> hey, everyone! good morning. how are my justice fighters doing out there? today is invigorating and enlighten you to make sure we have social justice everywhere. i represent bay view and porter hill. so
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today i really want to share with you in the celebration and recognition of the 50th anniversary, i'm going to ask you to come up here, jeff. look at him. this is amazing, everyone. but today is march 18, 2013. today marks the 50th anniversary united states court's decision that someone should be defended at no cost. where journalist and concerned citizens will gather at the san francisco public defenders 2013 justice summit on march 19 to discuss ways to better fulfill gideon's promise justice for
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all where clarence combid gideon convicted to be stealing change at a pool hall. he wrote a petition to the supreme court from his jail cell arguing that his rights had been violated. he presented a victory for civil rights and justice. san francisco one of the first cities in the united states to establish a public defenders office opened it's doors in 1921. whereas gideon's promise lives on in the san francisco public defenders office which service 25,000 indigent people every year. whereas city of the san francisco joined with the public defenders and the legal aid lawyers to celebrate the right to counsel. therefore be it resolved the san francisco
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-- march 18th as gideon versus wayne right day as acknowledgment for the 50 years of the united states landmark decision as well as the work of the public defenders who continue to fulfill the rights. [ applause ] >> thank you very much. i would like to thank the board of supervisors and the mayor's office as well. i would like to share with the public defenders. ken is here and as well as dave from the public defenders office. [ applause ] >> i'm sorry. ron from the
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santa clara's office. key note speaker. this came out yesterday on the anniversary. she's a contributing editor and writer at the washington magazine. her work has appeared in the nation, news day, new york times, mother jones, village boys, salon -- and author of two other books home fires burning, married to military for better or worse. she had traveled all over the country for a year-and-a-half to cover at the quality of the indigent today. she had to travel the count country to get here today. she came from maryland. we are very excited she's here. her well recent
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investigation shows inadequacy of our legal system. let's welcome her. [ applause ] >> hi, thanks for having me. i'm very excited to be here, if a bit sleepy. as he said, my new book was really an effort to take the temperature of public defense across the country and i visited a lot of public defenders offices, watched a lot of trials and discovered that there was a crisis in the court's that probably all of you are well aware of and really tried to dig in and find out what was going on and where all these problems were arising that we
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didn't have equal justice 50 years after gideon. what i would like to do is read a little section of the book first and talk for a few minutes and read a brief section. so, the section i'm going to read is in the conclusion because it's about public defenders in a conference i went to with public defenders since i thought there were probably quite a few of you in the audience, you might find it musing. i don't know. the national defenders association opened the conference in washington dc in 2011 addressed the crowd of 300 public defenders with a room with space for many more. does society demonize you? of course. do they suggest you are working for the wrong people? of course they do do they
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suggest you are work for thugs? of course they do but the work do you is vital and critical because it's rest to get justice on our legal system. his voice rose in volume and picked up speed and told the audience they ought to consider themselves as super heroes. it was an interesting observation. the public defenders and attorneys sprinkled in the hall that day were the designs of wrinkled clothes, no prada shoes. the man were the kind i had sat behind in too many courtrooms as a reporter over the years.
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worn tweed jackets and hair cuts that might have been sharp there months ago but now curled into collars of their blazers, no iron shirts. the women at the conference also wore their standard trial attire. the jacket that told them it was serious work though it came from marshals. the canvas book bags from barnes & noble. it was possible that shiny span dekz super powers. but it was a stretch. what die son was up to clearly was trying to rally the crowd to commitment to popular work. the losing cause, the rights of the indigent. this was a telling moment for me.
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indicative of a sense from every single person i spoke to at this national conference roughly 50 over the course of several days that good work was possible for public defenders across the nation but the greater context for which they labor order made it few in effort. attorneys left in a blaze of fury until they out after a few years. carol d -- is a public defenders office. 21 hardworking public defenders in new orleans are let go and greg bright, i'm going to read you an excerpt about his case.
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an attorney returned to england after several years of immersion in the program. after 30 years decided not to seek reelection. joseph ramon quit in frustration after trying his first death penalty case. is j ramon here? he's in the back. he actually, we talked afterwards a couple months. he works in a bar. he drinks a lot less as a bartender than as a public defender. in some ways dawson's speech has missed the mark. most of the public defenders are not particularly interested in being vigilante
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soup heroes. they want back ups thechl they want to work in the existing framework to protect the clients rights and they want the time and resources to do their jobs right without having to reduce to heroics. they needed more time with their clients if they want to properly represent them. clients don't trust the system. a federal public defender in nevada for years. you can be the the best representation but the clients don't see it. clients are asking do i trust you enough to tell you the truth of what happened? i need that information so i can see for example is this a self defense case. there has to be enough time to create a relationship, is she said. that's where the the difference is between rich and poor. the rich because they are paying for their time will
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have as much time with their lawyer as they need. ". it's a serious thing that they know the system is broken. and the criminal justice across the united states acknowledge deep flaws in the way representation is provided to people. eric also spoke to the american council of chief defender in 2009. we know they lag far behind other justice programs. they constitute about 3 percent of all criminal justice expenditures in our nations largest counties." i'm going to skip ahead. we interview lawyers, who fire appropriate motions and do many
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other things that attorneys should be able to do as a matter of course. finally we know there are numerous challenges in the public defense system like budget shortfalls. he acknowledged the challenges the system faced were not new and quoted justice hugo black when gideon came before the supreme court. there can be no equal justice when a trial a man gets can be a pile of money he has. what can be do? he asked the audience. the question resonates, echoing and bouncing off the walls where a player knows what needs to be done to fix the problem but no one can generate the political will necessary to change things. 50 years after combid
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gideon rights e eludes us. i want to a break from the reading and talk about why that issue is so hard for people to grasp and why reform efforts have been stymied. it's been interesting for me reporting on this last year-and-a-half and trying to talk to people at the water cooler and a bar, my friends at dinner parties, whatever, and i would just say the words indigent defense and people's eyes would glaze over and they are like what is that? what does that have to do with me. even the word indigent. i started use is poor people. it's hard for people to understand why this issue matters. in the course of my reporting over a year-and-a-half, all the experts in the legal system, i would always end my interviews with the same question, which
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is, so you have this problem, why is it so hard to fix? why is it so hard for people to understand this need? what i got a lot of different answers, but i think what i really discovered was that for most people who don't live in this world that all of you live in which is working as public defenders or advocates or in the criminal justice system, you know a lot about these issues and you know what the stakes are and you are meeting real people everyday when you go out into courtrooms or into jails. you are seeing these people and you are understanding, you are hearing their stories and understanding their lives and understanding what the stakes are for people in terms of creating a fair system. most americans don't have that experience. and the whole idea, you say it's not fair, i think people respond to that, but it's hard for them to
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see that. i think it's hard for them to visualize because they are not seeing these real faces and not hearing these stories. even when we looked at the video and poster which is great for this conference which is gideon's picture. there was something about seeing his face as a real person and that personalizing of the issue that makes people respond in a profound way. so i think in terms of reforming a system or any problem that you are trying to resolve, there are two levels in which that works on and as a journalist i try toggle back and forth between these two things. how do you get an emotional response from people. people are moved to action by stories. they are moved to action by people's real life experiences when they see somebody, when they feel it, when it's a narrative, when it's a compelling story and the second part of that is understanding and sharing with
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people the complexities of the problem so they can understand how to act, what needs to be done to reform the system. and so, one of the things i would really like to encourage people here to do is to take this next year as an opportunity when there is attention focused on this issue to take your own stories, or the stories of your clients outside of your insular world and share them with the public. and that may mean rethinking the way you talk even sometimes about these issues. like, people say the word parody between a prosecutors office and public defenders office. the public doesn't know what that means. so a level playing field or even words like individual, just say people, right? don't try to remove the people you are talking to from the heart
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and soul of your experiences or your clients experiences. so, i think there is a real opportunity this year and across the country, there are people who have been very involved in efforts to reform the system who are doing a full court press, this year, right? there are class action suits. people are attacking this from every angle. but i do think that one critical aspect is generateing the political will for the reform. when the politicians some law & order politician goes on and on with this lock em up mentality and people nod their heads. if people are better educated about these issues they will call the people on the carpet and say wait a minute. i think
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the mission, if i can give you that, would be to step outside your circle, your work circle and bring this issue to the broader public so they can create a change in the culture and the public's response to these issues that will then enable the politicians and legislators to make the reforms to the finances and the court's etc that really need to happen and one way i think is a good way to do that and i'm talking, i'm a journalist, an advocacy journalist, it's usually said with a sneer but i wear the badge proudly, to reach out to reporter's because of course they do have that soapbox to share these stories with. so reach out to reporter's in your local newspapers,